How to Choose the Best DTF Film? The Ultimate Guide

DTF PET Film is specially designed for DTF printing, acts as medium for DTF transfer with the benefit of more vivid color, breathable and lower cost.  Hot peel DTF film and cold peel DTF film are the most known types, in fact, DTF PET Film can be classified into different types from different aspect: coating process, release process and visual effects.

Choosing the best DTF film is crucial to your printing business as it directly affects on the quality of printing. As one of DTF supplies, DTF film is also important factor while choosing the best DTF printer.

Definition: What is DTF Film?

DTF Film is the medium used in DTF printing process, it transfers the printout to application such as T-shirt, it is also called DTF transfer film or PET film.

But not all kinds of PET film can be applied to DTF printing. Compared to common PET film, DTF PET film owns special ink absorb coating and release coating, therefore, DTF film absorbs ink well and have better transfer effects, achieves more vivid image color presentation.

Structure of DTF PET Film

DTF film is produced on the base layer of the PET material, coated with release layer and ink-absorption layer. High quality film adds back coating to realize anti-static electricity and anti-adhesion continuous treatment. 

what is dtf film? structure explained.

For example, DTF film from Sublistar owns 5 coating process, including anti-blocking treatment, anti-static treatments, PET substrate, matte coating, release coating, ink receptive coating.

How to Better Use the DTF Film? 4 Tips to Know

Though choosing the premium quality DTF film can significantly improve the printing quality, knowing following 4 tips can make DTF printing even better:

  • Differentiate the printing surface – The side with ink-absorption is printing side;
  • Dry for 40-90 seconds after printing(set suitable temperature according to the performance of hot melt powder);
  • Work with hot melt powder with a particle size 60-80μ can realize instant peeling; particle size 100-150 |J dtf powder is suitable for cold peeling; particle size higher than 150μsuggests cold peeling;
  • Store DTF film in dry environment and pay attention to moisture -proof.

Where DTF film can be applied? Substrate (Applications) of DTF film

DTF film is widely applied to various fabrics, no matter dark or light like cotton, nylon, polyester, canvas, denim and more. In fact, DTF film can be applied to almost unlimited types of fabric.

Therefore DTF film is suitable for producing T-shirts, sportswear, workwear, home decorations clothing accessories and more.

Market of DTF Film

Thanks to its advantage of cost-effect and great performance, DTF film will still be popular in the market for a long time. However, as the market focuses more and more on environmental protection, DTF film may be replaced by DTF paper some day as DTF film is unable to be degraded. But in the future, there is also possibility that DTF film breaks the limitation of this.

What are the Types of DTF Film? By Different Classifications.

Before knowing how to choose the most suitable DTF film for printing business, getting an idea about the different types of DTF film is the first thing to know.

Though most known types of DTF film are hot peel and cold peel, that’s only one of the way to classify, there are more types named from different perspective.

By Coating Process

According to coating process, DTF film can be classified into single side coating film and double-side coating film. At the beginning development period of DTF printing, single side coating film is popular. However, at that time, most machines were not mature and had the problems of sliding dislocation. Hence double-side coating film(adding coating in the back) was designed to prevent sliding.

By Releae Process

According to release process, DTF film can be classified into hot peel film and cold peel film(know the difference between cold peel and hot peel film). Cold peel film is not able to peel the backing until the film cool down after heat pressing. However, the backing of the hot peel film will be torn off soon after heat pressing due to the wax content.

By Visual Effect

According to visual effect, DTF film can be classified into reflective colorful film, laser film, luminous film, temperature change film, shining film.

Reflective colorful film could reflect light, creating unique visual impact and making your design eye-catching.

Laser film is able to present laser under light. In the dark environment, images printed by luminous film will shine and show green light.

Temperature change film will make pattern show different effect under different temperature. When the temperature rises, designs will become brighter. When it decreases, designs will become dark.

Shining film will bring patterns shinning impact. 

How to Choose Best DTF Film? 6 Key Factors

As there are various types of DTF film in the market, usually, consider the following 6 factors to choose DTF film makes no wrong choice:

  • Ink-absorption capacity
  • Coating layer
  • Powder shaking effect
  • Release effect
  • Storage capacity
  • High temperature resistance

Ink-absorption Capacity

Poor ink-absorption capacity may cause that white and color ink  mix or even flow on the films. So it is important to choose film with high ink-absorption coating.

DO NOT Choose DTF Film with Poor Ink-absorption
DO NOT Choose DTF Film with Poor Ink-absorption

Coating Layer

DTF film is base film coated with special coating. If the coating is uneven or mixed with impurities, it will directly affect the printing effect. Thence, it is necessary to observe whether the surface coating is even and delicate.

DTF film with NOT good coating layer
DTF film with NOT good coating layer

Powder Shaking Effect

There will be some powder on the edges of the pattern after shaking if the film has bad powder shaking ability. That will make your transfer dirty. Edges of film with good powder shaking effect will be clean without residue. You can use some samples to test the powder shaking effect before you decide to purchase.

Test Powder Shaking of DTF Film

Release Effect

Qualified DTF film is easy to tear off after pressing. Bad DTF film is difficult to tear off or peeling the backing will damage the patterns. Testing the release effect is also necessary before ordering.

Storage Capacity

After period of time, oil water on the DTF film may come out even they are kept in their original packing. Good DTF film will always keep clean in the surface even if it is not used for a long time.

High Temperature Resistance

After printing and powder shaking, DTF film needs to enter high-temperature oven for crying. Hot melt powder will begin to melt when the temperature is over 80℃, so DTF film must withstand high temperature. If the film does not become yellow and wrinkle under the test temperatue of 120℃, it can be identified as good quality.

Choosing the best quality DTF Film is crucial to your printing business, no business owner wanted to lose customer after days, weeks the T-shirt printing finished and delivered. Premium DTF film can definitely help you get more T-shirt printing order in long term.

If you still have other questions or wanted to get some DTF film test samples, Sublistar offers different types of DTF film and free sample test service for your to feel and review.


It is recommended to store DTF PET Film in its original packaging, in the poly bag, at 68°F–82°F (20°C–28°C) and 40–60% RH. The best way is to store the product in a shaded, dark environment. Direct sunlight will cause damage to the DTF film to varying degrees.

Low-temperature wash is recommended, around 30-40°C (86-104 F), or even cold water, and use a medium wash cycle (600-800 rpm). Also, shorter wash programs (30 minutes to 1 hour) are recommended.

DTF printing is durable. DTF ink adheres well to fabrics, allowing designs to withstand multiple washes and sun exposures without fading or cracking.

No. The coating on the DTF film is used up during the printing and transfer process. If you print again, the ink will flow away instead of sticking.

5/5 - (2 votes)

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